MCKENZIE BRIDGE, Oregon (STPNS) -- Power outages that began Friday night had utility crews responding to the first of what would become a cascading series of black outs. State and county road crews were busy as well as ice covered trees and limbs fell across both transmission lines and travel corridors.
At approximately 6 p.m. on Friday evening, calls began coming in reporting power outages across Lane Electric’s service area. Between 700 and 800 members were without electric service, caused by freezing rain atop four to ten inches of snow. Affected areas included the McKenzie Valley, Cottage Grove, West Eugene, Veneta, and Creswell.
About 5,900 Eugene Water & Electric Board customers were still without electricity on Sunday due primarily to ice-encrusted trees and limbs continuing to fall onto power lines. Crews were making progress through the day, with many without power into Monday and Tuesday due to the volume of downed trees and lines.
The hardest hit sections of Eugene include the South Hills, the Laurel Hill Valley area of southeast Eugene, and portions of southwest Eugene. There were also about 450 customers without service in the Walterville area.
According to OSP Northern Command Center Supervisor Dave Piercy, troopers statewide responded to approximately 600 weather related crashes since Thursday morning. Most resulted in only minor injuries. OSP handled one fatal crash on Friday afternoon on I-84 near Rooster Rock where a single vehicle lost control due to ice and left the roadway and collided broadside into a tree. In that crash an adult female passenger died from her injuries. The adult male driver was transported for serious injuries.
Troopers have also assisted approximately 900 motorists that needed assistance on Oregon’s roadways due to severe road and weather conditions.
Further to the east, the big storm brought a reversal of fortunes to the Hoodoo Ski Area. “It’s a little ironic that we got the biggest storm of the year this weekend as we finally got enough snow to just open Manzanita and then wham… all the season’s snow in a couple days,” was the way General Manager Matthew McFarland described the situation. “It has been awesome in more ways than one.”
The resort reported having just over 47 inches of snow on Tuesday. Now that most of the lifts are running again, McFarland reports people have been asking. “When will the Big Green Machine lift open?” He predicts that will happen on the resort’s first “Thrifty Thursday,” on February 13th.
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